How to Care For Your Kenyan Sand Boa
Kenyan Sand Boas (Eryx colubrinus) are small (18”-24”; males are smaller than females), thick bodied, non-venomous, constricting snakes native to northern and Eastern Africa. In the wild, Kenyan Sand Boas are generally camouflage patterned with orange, yellow and brown splotches and a cream colored belly. A variety of color and pattern “morphs” have been developed as well. Kenyan Sand Boas are generally considered to be a beginner pet.
An appropriate sized enclosure for a single Kenyan Sand Boa is minimally a 10 gallon long tank (20”10”x12”). Kenyan Sand Boas can be kept in small groups, which will require a larger enclosure. No more than 1 male snake should be kept in the group. Kenyan Sand Boas can be active and curious so it’s important that the enclosure have a lid to keep them from escaping and to keep other animals or curious children out. Kenyan Sand Boas enjoy burrowing and hiding, so the ideal substrate will permit this. Appropriate substrates include cypress mulch or aspen shaving substrate, coco fiber, play sand or shredded paper. Cedar and pine shaving should not be used due to the toxic oils they contain. The enclosure must be cleaned regularly, though if a bioactive set-up is created, much of the cleaning will be carried out by scavenger bugs.
Kenyan Sand Boas may easily overturn a hide box, so if one is used, it should not be too heavy so as not to crush the snake if overturned. A heavy, small water bowl should be provided. Clean out the water bowl regularly, especially if the snake soils it. Additional humidity may be required to facilitate shedding and can be provided using a spray bottle.
Heating and Lighting
Most Kenyan Sand Boas are provided with heat through under tank heaters (UTH) and an overhead light, which is placed on one side of the enclosure to allow a “temperature gradient” from hot side to cool side. The light should run on a 12 hour cycle. The UTH will require a thermostat or a rheostat to regulate the temperature. The temperature on the hot side should be around 95F. and the cooler side of the enclosure should be 75-80F. The enclosure can get a bit cooler in the evening and can go down to the 60’sF.
Food and Supplementation
Kenyan Sand Boas are carnivorous and primarily eat mice. Vary the size of the feeder with the size of the snake. Most Kenyan Sand Boas are fed a single frozen and thawed prey item every 1-2 weeks. Males are reported to sometimes feed less often than females. If live prey is used, the snake must be supervised during feeding to insure that it’s not harmed by the feeder. Although Kenyan Sand Boas should be able to obtain all their nutritional needs by ingesting the entire mouse, it’s a good idea to provide additional calcium, vitamin D3 and a variety of other vitamins and minerals by dusting the feeders with an appropriate supplement such as Repashy Supervite multivitamin and powdered calcium.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to Kenyan Sand Boas please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets